2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Projected Field Of 64 (5/19/21)
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Selection Monday is less than two weeks away. For most teams, this weekend marks the end of the regular season. For others, conference tournaments have either already begun. For every team in the nation, however, there isn’t much time left. Soon, their resumes will be complete, awaiting evaluation from the selection committee.
The selection committee last week announced its shortlist of the 20 potential hosts for regionals. That list is as follows: Arizona, Arkansas, Charlotte, East Carolina, Florida, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt.
The list of potential hosts will be cut to the final 16 on the eve of Selection Monday. Already, however, probably 12 teams can feel secure in their hosting chances: Arizona, Arkansas, ECU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, TCU, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. That leaves eight teams fighting for four spots. For those teams, much is riding on the next two weeks.
This week there are two changes to the projected hosts, as Gonzaga and Ole Miss move in and Pitt and Stanford move out. Ole Miss likely secured a home regional with a series win last weekend against Vanderbilt, improving to 36-16, 16-11 and a top-15 RPI. Gonzaga, meanwhile, was a surprise to see included on the shortlist of hosts but that surprise had as much to do with the Zags having been out of action due to Covid-19 issues for two weeks before the announcement as anything that was wrong with their resume. Following last weekend’s road sweep of Portland, Gonzaga is 30-14, in control of the West Coast Conference, has a top-20 RPI and owns a series win at TCU. It needs a solid finish, but it’s all there for the Zags.
Pitt, meanwhile, is likely done as a host – or at least hosting as a No. 1 seed – after getting swept at home by North Carolina State. Its resume now looks little different than any of the other ACC schools the selection committee declined to include on the shortlist. Stanford still has a chance, but it needs a series win this weekend at Oregon to really stay in the hunt.
The next two weeks are also crucial for teams fighting to earn at-large bids. The bubble remains soft this year, leaving open the possibility of various teams making a run down the final stretch.
In this week’s field, Louisiana State returns for the first time in weeks. The Tigers (32-20, 11-16) are emblematic of the bubble’s softness. Unless they sweep Texas A&M on the road this weekend, their SEC record is going to be subpar for a typical tournament team. But this year, their projected 13-17 conference mark, combined with a top-25 RPI, a winning record away from Baton Rouge and a schedule that ranks as the second strongest in the country should be enough to put them in the field. They are by no means safely in yet, however.
While LSU rises, a few teams that have been safely in the field in recent weeks have fallen to the bubble. Indiana State has fallen off its early pace and can afford no more slip ups over the final two weeks. Alabama (29-19, 12-14) and Georgia (29-21, 12-15) are in similar positions as LSU but with harder final series – Alabama vs. Mississippi State, Georgia vs. Ole Miss – and worse RPIs. Virginia Tech (27-20, 16-17) has slid the furthest. The Hokies have won just two ACC games since April 12 and now welcomes conference champion Notre Dame to Blacksburg for a crucial series.
There are sure to be many more twists and turns on the way to Selection Monday. Baseball America will continue to update the projected field weekly throughout the spring.
|PROJECTED FIELD OF 64|
|Fayetteville, Ark.||Spokane, Wash.|
|1. (1) Arkansas^*||1. (16) Gonzaga^*|
|2. Oklahoma State||2. Oregon State|
|3. Fairfield*||3. Louisville|
|4. North Carolina Central*||4. Northeastern*|
|1. (2) Vanderbilt^||1. (15) Louisiana Tech^|
|2. Pittsburgh||2. Stanford|
|3. Air Force||3. Tulane|
|4. Southeast Missouri State*||4. Connecticut*|
|1. (3) Texas^||1. (14) Florida^|
|2. UCLA||2. Florida State|
|3. Louisiana State||3. Iowa|
|4. Lehigh*||4. South Alabama*|
|Tucson, Ariz.||Gastonia, N.C.|
|1. (4) Arizona^*||1. (13) Charlotte^*|
|2. Nebraska||2. South Carolina|
|3. Clemson||3. Liberty*|
|4. Grand Canyon*||4. Virginia Commonwealth*|
|Fort Worth, Texas||Oxford, Miss.|
|1. (5) Texas Christian^*||1. (12) Mississippi^|
|2. North Carolina State||2. Southern Mississippi|
|3. Dallas Baptist*||3. Arizona State|
|4. Oral Roberts*||4. Bryant*|
|South Bend, Ind.||Greenville, N.C.|
|1. (6) Notre Dame^*||1. (11) East Carolina^*|
|2. Indiana||2. Old Dominion|
|3. Indiana State||3. North Carolina|
|4. Wright State*||4. Campbell*|
|Knoxville, Tenn.||Lubbock, Texas|
|1. (7) Tennessee^||1. (10) Texas Tech^|
|2. Miami||2. Michigan*|
|3. Ball State*||3. Virginia|
|4. Wofford*||4. Abilene Christian*|
|Starkville, Miss.||Eugene, Ore.|
|1. (8) Mississippi State^||1. (9) Oregon^|
|2. Georgia Tech||2. UC Irvine|
|3. Baylor||3. Nevada*|
|4. Jackson State*||4. Stony Brook*|
^ Denotes host school
* Denotes automatic qualifier
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